#IMIStories: A Quarantine Win
Despite being an IMI employee for only a year, production quality auditor Ian Dote showed dedication, leadership, and innovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is his quarantine story.
The pandemic has significantly affected our company, both inside and out. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, only select people could enter the premises. As employees, we have a responsibility to go to work despite the possible hazards that await us.
When the COVID-19 lockdown happened, I volunteered and decided to stay on-site to serve our customers. Together with some of my colleagues, I spent five months inside the plant. Since there were only a few of us on the line, we got the chance to get to know each other better. However, simple misunderstandings were unavoidable.
Being in charge of the team, I had to ensure my colleagues complied with company rules and standards. It was challenging since not everyone understood my situation. Receiving snide comments from colleagues is inevitable, but that did not stop me from doing the right thing. In defense, I would usually tell them, "I'm sorry. I'm just doing my job."
As a Quality Assurance/ IPQ auditor for IMIL: Savantos, I am tasked with ensuring the correct machine setting and operation parameters for hearing aid components. This electronic device helps hearing-impaired people all over the world listen, communicate, and interact with others. Because this tool helps them live their best lives despite hearing loss, total quality control is paramount.
Instead of being affected by the criticism, I re-focused my thoughts on contributing to the company. This is why I participated in our company’s Kaizen/WIN initiative. Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning “change for the better” and refers to any activity that can improve business functions or processes. One of the most important tasks in Kaizen involves improving the quality of work in an organization by achieving TQC (total quality control). Kaizen prioritizes the manufacturing process because a faulty one could hinder the goal.
WIN or Work Integrity refers to highlighting a potential problem that could affect work safety or the work process. Such problems could cause line stoppage, delivery failure, or a customer complaint.
I identified two problems with our work process. First, it was hard to identify the actual levels in every work order’s packaging. Second, we had a large volume of units for dispatch. With the old process, these two factors contributed to production downtime. Repair operators had to manually check quality levels.
The solution I proposed was simple: WIP or work-in-progress tags that indicated the quality levels per unit to indicate if components were ready for housing or needed rework. Operators attached these WIP tags before forwarding the units to dispatch.
Fortunately, my efforts bore fruit: my work was approved. From one minute, the new process shortened the cycle time to five to seven seconds.
Ian Dote holds the Certificate of Recognition and cash prize for his winning WIN proposal.
Here is some advice from a simple person: just continue with what you’re doing for as long as it doesn’t harm others. Like that song by rock band Siakol, “Just keep going.”
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